Troop Care Package Drive: Donate and/or Volunteer this Saturday (Update)

by beth on May 15, 2017

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Above: Southborough has a proud history of supporting our troops overseas through care package drives. Organizers are hoping volunteers and donors will show their support again this weekend. (photos from 2011 by Susan Fitzgerald)

Organizers of a long supported community drive for overseas troops are relaunching their efforts.

Many readers will remember the Troop Care Package Drives that used to be held in Southborough. It’s something that had ended with organizers’ hopes that it would no longer be needed. 

In 2005, Southborough residents organized what turned into a semi-annual drive to support members of the armed services serving overseas. Based on the 2014-15 drawdown from the Middle East, it no longer seemed necessary. The “final” drive* was held in October 2014, with the community having delivered 9,000 boxes (and 200,000 lbs) of “care” over 9 years. 

At the time, co-organizer Lisa Braccio stated: “we will go on hiatus until we are needed again.” It seems, that time has come.

This year service member LCPL Dustin Martin, who was once a young volunteer for the drive, shipped out.

This Saturday, a Troop Care Package Drive will be held in honor of him and another past supporter of the drive, Marine, Sgt. James Hastings (Ret). The drive will also support an infantry that deployed from Worcester last month.

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

The drive will be held at the Senior Center, 9 Cordaville Road from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Details of requested donations are in the attached flyer. (Please note the request not to donate opened or used items, bulk-size items, soap bars, aerosols or VHS tapes).

In addition to donating items, or helping sort goods, organizers reminds us of the importance of including a kind word. Some service members don’t receive any letters from home. So a card or letter can mean a lot.

As for why the drive has been relaunched and who it honors, Braccio writes:

After being away for three years we will once again be bringing love and support to those serving so proudly and bravely overseas. Back in October, one of our young volunteers that grew up with the Care Package Drive, contacted me to let me know he was deploying in February/March. I asked myself then, how could we not come back and support a young man that for years donated his time and energy to pack boxes for others that needed a “touch and taste” of home.

So on May 20th, Armed Forces day, we will be supporting LCPL Dustin Martin. His parents and family will be with us, so they can experience the support that our Community has for their son and all other deployed Service Members.

We will also be honoring another Marine, Sgt. James Hastings (Ret). Jim has a personal tie to Southborough and his family was one of our first volunteers back in 2005. Jim continues to work tirelessly in supporting our Veterans and is recognized at the State and National level for his dedication.

The 181st Infantry out of Worcester has deployed in the last month and they also will share in our support. I ask all your readers and our amazing Southboro families to open their hearts once again and to help us let them know we support them and will not forget them. I can think of no greater gift we can give our Service Members that to open a box from complete strangers wishing them well.

Also, please share with your readers that their support over the years has touched tens of thousands of lives. Our local schools will be crafting cards and letters to once again put in the boxes and we encourage our donors to also write a card or note, it is the most important thing we send. Attached is a flyer for the event, we are currently scheduled for just Saturday but if the response is great enough we will be adding Sunday as well.

If you have any questions about the drive, you can contact Lisa Braccio at Braccio Electric (508-481-9939) or Debbie Depp Wilson at (508-769-9701).

*The May 2014 care package drive was followed by another, but very different drive that fall. In November 2014, organizers collected gift cards for service member and veteran patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Updated (5/16/17 9:07 am) I mistakenly posted 9,000 as the “lbs” of care packages previously shipped. It was 200,000 lbs in 9,000 boxes.

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